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Flood risk threatens one in six English homes

ONE in six homes in England is at risk of flooding as climate change increases the risk of coastal erosion and flooding from rivers and the sea, the Environment Agency said today.

It called for spending on flood defences to be doubled to 1 billion pounds a year by 2035, based on the latest official climate change predictions.

A government-backed report on Thursday said the changing weather could lead to more flooding, storm surges at ports in eastern England and a greater risk to farmers from drought, crop diseases and heat stress among livestock.

The Environment Agency said the annual cost of flood damage to property, infrastructure and businesses in England could rise to 4 billion pounds a year from 2.5 billion pounds unless funding was increased for flood protection.

It said more than five million people live and work in 2.4 million properties at risk from rivers or the sea, of which 490,000 had a significant chance of flooding.

Surface water flooding threatened a further 2.8 million properties.

"The latest UK climate change data shows that the risk of flooding and coastal erosion will continue to increase in future due to rising sea levels and more frequent and heavy storms," said Environment Agency Chairman Chris Smith.

"There are important decisions for us all to take about how to manage these risks to protect people, communities, businesses and the economy in future."

The southeast of England was the most vulnerable region, with 111,356 properties at significant risk of flooding from rivers or the sea, the agency said.


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